The Walking Dead Season 4 Review “Inmates”

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 10 Inmates (3)

Editor’s Note: I was unable to review this show when it aired last night due to being away for the long weekend, but I’m back now so I’m posting it a little late. Better late than never, right?

After beginning the second half of the fourth season last week with an episode focused largely on Carl, The Walking Dead returned last night with another episode centered largely around the younger citizens of the Walking Dead universe. We also checked in on the rest of the survivors, and got a big introduction to the new cast member of the series.

With a lot of screen time going to Carl last week, this episode began with a focus on Beth Greene. The opening scene was a really cool idea, with the interplay of Beth’s hopeful and optimistic diary entry narrating over all of the terrible things happening on screen. I also loved the visual of her and Daryl lying down exhausted as hungry vultures circled overhead. However, that’s where all of my enjoyment ended with these scenes.

I think it was smart for the Walking Dead writers to pair a relatively underused and/or unliked character with Daryl, who is a favorite of the fans. I realize that Beth has just lost her father, and she’s not sure if her sister or all of her friends are still alive or not, but that doesn’t make her shrill and manic attitude any more interesting to watch. It could be that I just don’t care enough about Beth as a character at this point, and I think that Emily Kinney is doing the best job she can with the material that she’s been given, but I had a hard time caring about anything between these two. The most interesting thing to me was seeing Daryl’s reaction to her emotional downturn, and he seems largely disinterested. Daryl seemed to have growing a bit of a soft side up until now, but it looks like he’s trying some tough love with Beth. I love how much Daryl can say without actually speaking out loud. When he silently handed Beth that handkerchief, it was such a great display of wordless support for her. He’s not saying that her sister is still alive, or filling her with false hope, but he’s trying to help her feel better anyway. I loved that stuff, I just wish he was interacting with a more interesting character.

Moving on to a few other young members of the prison crew, Lizzie and Mika returned with Tyreese, and guess who else is back?! Judith! While I was happy to see her alive and well, I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t actually go there by killing her off. She died in the comics at the battle of the prison, and I was impressed that they went so far on the TV series, but now they took it back.

Another character making her grand return was Carol, as she comes back just in time to help out Tyreese and the girls. I’m interested to see if, or when, the news that Carol is responsible for killing Tyreese’s girlfriend will come out between the two of them. Will Tyreese be so angry that he goes after Carol? Or will he be so desperate for her help that he lets her live?

Children have always been notoriously difficult to write on television or movies over the years, and this installment was no different when it comes to Lizzie and Mika. Between Mika sprinting off into the woods when a bird flies out of a bush, and Lizzie almost suffocating Judith to keep her quiet, there were multiple times where I was yelling at the screen at the stupid kids. On one hand, it’s difficult to fault the children for making dumb decisions, because they’re kids and they do dumb stuff sometimes, and they’ve just gone through such a horrific experience. On the other hand, it seems like children are frequently just used as a plot device for the writers. The writers need a way to get the group in the middle of the woods, so they have Mika run away from the scary birds. They need a way to threaten the life of Judith, so they have Lizzie almost suffocating her. The writers just figure that kids will do anything, so they write ridiculous material for them and figure we won’t question it. These kids were being trained to be smart and ruthless survivors by Carol, but now it’s like they’ve reverted to being the same ol’ dumb kids.

We also caught up with Maggie, Bob and Sasha. We really didn’t get much from this story other than the fact that Glenn is still alive, which we were going to find out in 10 minutes anyway. My main takeaway from these scenes was how ripped Larry Gilliard got for the role of Bob Stookey! I don’t remember him being that cut on The Wire!

A much more successful story was the unlikely pairing of Glenn and Tara, as we find out that neither of them actually left the prison. I loved these scenes, but I was a bit confused about how Glenn got there. I thought the last time we saw him he could barely move, and he was stuck on the bus as it drove away? How did he get the strength to get off the bus, run back, and lock himself on the second floor of the prison? Then when he woke up, how did he suddenly get the strength to suit up and push through dozens of walkers? Did he sleep off his sickness or something? Apparently not, because he collapsed at the end of the episode.

Despite these complaints, I really liked what we got here. It’s always fun to see Glenn kicking some butt, and it’s good seeing Tara sticking around for at least a few episodes. Just about all of the new characters that we saw introduced earlier in the season as part of The Governor’s crew have all been conveniently killed off, so I’m glad that we’re keeping at least one. I also had totally forgotten that Glenn wasn’t even aware that Hershel was killed, so it was great to have that one moment of emotional impact in this episode.

The episode ended with the introduction of Michael Cudlitz as Sergeant Abraham Ford. This character is a big deal from the comics, and Cudlitz is perfect the role, so I can’t wait to see this pairing fully realized. Although, I wasn’t sure what was actually happening in this introduction. Was the whole thing with Tara just a test? Because she seemed to know that they were watching her as she killed those walkers, so does that mean that they had previously met? If she saw them watching her from the car, and they hadn’t met before, wouldn’t she just point them out to Glenn? Kind of messy, but I can’t wait to see what happens next!

What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– This episode really made me think that Lauren Cohan would be great as the new Lara Croft if they ever decided to reboot the Tomb Raider franchise. I know I’m not the first person to say this or anything, but seeing her strapping that pistol to her thigh really made it click for me. She already has the English accent and everything!

– I know I’ve complained about this inconsistency before, but nobody ever seems very concerned about accidentally touching walker blood on or in their bodies. People just smash walker’s heads in all willy-nilly and don’t care if the blood smashes all over their face. I would be the OCD guy who has to constantly wash my face to keep the blood out of my system.

– Did we know before now that walkers were attracted to fire? I don’t remember that strategy being used before.